Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ghosts Church Bells and other thoughts - added to yesterdays blog

I've been collecting ghost stories since the 1980s. I have always found the subject fascinating. No-one really knows whether ghosts exist or not. This only adds to the intrigue for me.
Having researched the subject for many years I have found myself becoming a tad sceptical of some ghost stories that are published.
I have collated stories for over twenty-five years, mainly because I thought it would be useful for ghost investigators in the future. I even collected the one-liners. In fact I have had quite a lot of feedback on the stories over the years. People have contacted me saying a similar thing had happened to them at certain sites which I have mentioned in the stories. This proves to me that my collection is worthwhile.
When land at Blithfield in Staffordshire was flooded, in the 1950s, for a new reservoir, stories started to be told that people could hear church bells ringing around midnight. Rumour, had it that a village had to be abandoned due to the water board buying the land for the proposed reservoir.
I did not live in the area until the late 1960s, and many years later when I collected the stories of the haunted reservoir there was no internet or information regarding the story. In good faith I published the story of church bells being heard at night. I only discovered a few years ago that there was no village, and no church; just an old mill and a cottage were actually on the land that was flooded.
Now, this leads me to wondering how people could hear church bells by the reservoir in the dead of night? Is it purely down to their imagination? Perhaps, knowing the story they really do believe they can hear them. Turning the story on its head, maybe they do hear them and the place is actually haunted by ghostly church bells. I don't know. My story is only hearsay, or you could say, rumour via the grapevine. Stories get lost in time, just as the ghostly church bells have.
Since The Most Haunted series appeared on the television, the ghost-story world has gone plain silly. A few people have jumped in and started publishing books of ghost stories that are far from interesting. One or two authors have also been publishing stories that are already in books. I'm sure readers must find this annoying. I know I do. Particularly if the stories happen to be from my books.
I have always been of the opinion that if a ghost returns it will go to the place where it spent its happiest years on Earth. I wouldn't think that it would hang about a dark, cold graveyard. And, if there is an afterlife, the spirit will not be lying in a coffin in the churchyard. It will have left the earthly plane at the moment of the death. So why all the stories surrounding ghosts in church yards? This is all down to films, books, and  television programmes. It makes for good reading and viewing. A haunted grave site with a church as a back drop, add misty conditions; what could be a more spooky and atmospheric setting? It's all a bit old hat now though. Let's face it, in our earthly lives we certainly do not revisit places where we were unhappy. Well, I know I wouldn't.

Most Haunted, was aimed at the youngsters. I've always thought that a valuable opportunity  was missed with this show. If presented correctly the younger generation would have understood more about ghosts and the correct way to investigate them. Most Haunted, well, the ones I saw anyway were simply a scream time.
This led to a plethora of poorly researched books hitting the market, and more unrealistic programmes being shown. It became boring very fast. Sensible researchers were shoved into the background as the media-savvy authors and investigators gave out silly stories. This is when ghost and angel orbs became fashionable. I found these stories funny, but on a more serious level again I felt sorry that people were being misinformed. Ghosts have been 'seen' since time immemorial, as have angels. Why would they suddenly start appearing in orbs? It does try your intelligence when people expect you to believe in things like that.  
Blithfield Hall, is not far from where I live, and it has been mentioned recently in two books. The books say that there are at least five ghosts that haunt the premises. 
Nancy Lady Bagot, who survived her husband has looked after the affairs at Blithfield since 1961. They came to Blithfield in the mid 1940s. Sadly Nacy Lady Bagot died in 2014. She will be missed by many. She was such a pleasant person.
I decided to write and ask Nancy, Lady Bagot if there were any ghost stories linked to Blithfield. After all if  anyone would know, she would!
She kindly wrote back to me saying that in all the years that she has lived at Blithfield she had never seen sight nor sound of a ghost. Neither has anyone else, apart, that is from a friend who was staying one night. The friend thought she heard a disturbance, nothing more. It wasn't really a ghost story, but Lady Bagot was being helpful. I have written to her about one or two matters in the past and found her more than helpful.
I know I'm beginning to sound sceptical, but surely if a family have been in residence at Blithfield for near enough sixty years they would know that if their home was haunted. 
I accept Nancy Lady Bagot's story but certainly not the stories in the above books. They have gone on rumour,  and silly stories picked up and passed down through the years. 
The books mentioned have picked up on stories of grey ladies. Now, when I read or have written someone's story myself about grey or white ladies, I think nowadays, surely it would read better as a ghost dressed in grey or white clothing.
In one book I recently read, the fact that a woman goes into a public toilet and the hand dryer starts up, is written as a ghost story! I found this hilarious.This is not  a ghost story. Hand-dryers do come on when you walk past them. I've had it happen numerous times. I never thought that there was a ghost about. Our television changes channel sometimes I don't immediately think that our house is haunted. I would have thought that the author would have realised electricity does things like this from time to time. The author goes on to mention that he knows that public toilets are haunted. Really? Does he believe a ghost is  going to spend his/her afterlife haunting toilets? I think not. I would say he is lacking in experience regarding ghostly matters.
I shall in the future be publishing various stories that do not in my opinion add up as to what a ghost story should be.
The West Midland Ghost Club is a group who have been investigating ghostly occurrences for over twenty years. You can find them here. http://www.westmidlandsghostclub.com/
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